The latest on the meeting between Goodell, Vilma

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The latest on the meeting between Goodell, Vilma

From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will meet Monday with Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma to discuss Vilma's suspension that was temporarily lifted last week.A person familiar with the plans tells The Associated Press that Vilma will be in New York to present his case in the Saints' bounties scandal for which he was suspended for the 2012 season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting has not been announced.Vilma and three other players were suspended, but an appeals panel ruled last Friday that Goodell must clarify his earlier rulings to ensure no part of his decisions was based on salary cap violations. Goodell still could reinstate the suspensions to Vilma, New Orleans defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove for participating in a pay-for-injure program that violates the league's detrimental conduct policy.Smith, Fujita and Hargrove are expected to meet with Goodell on Tuesday.Only Smith played on Sunday, when the Saints lost to Washington. Vilma was placed on the physically unable to perform list, while Fujita sat out Cleveland's loss to Philadelphia with a leg injury. Hargrove was cut by Green Bay during the preseason.Players and coaches implicated in the bounty pool have testified under oath in a related federal court case they never intended to injure opposing players. The appeals panel ruled that Goodell could suspend the four players as long as the discipline was attributable to conduct detrimental to the NFL. Special master Stephen Burbank has the jurisdiction to rule on "undisclosed compensation," which violates the salary cap."It does not require the commissioner to take additional evidence or to "reweigh" the evidence currently in the record," the NFL said in a statement Thursday. "The panel did not take issue with any findings that were made in the course of the investigation, did not exonerate anyone involved, and did not say that the commissioner overstepped his authority.' '

Avery Bradley (Achilles) returning to Celtics lineup vs. Hawks

Avery Bradley (Achilles) returning to Celtics lineup vs. Hawks

BOSTON – The wait is finally over for the Boston Celtics and Avery Bradley.
 
Bradley will return to the Celtics starting lineup tonight after having missed the previous 18 games (and 22 out of 23) with a right Achilles injury.
 
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will play with a minutes restriction for the first week, and adjust accordingly.
 
Although Jaylen Brown has done a solid job filling in for Bradley with the first unit, Stevens had every intention of Bradley returning as a starter.
 
“He’s our starting two-guard,” Stevens said. “We started the year really well as far as that group playing together. We haven’t had that group playing together very often. Jaylen and Marcus (Smart) are both able to give us a lot off the bench as well as if we need to plug them into a (starting) lineup later on. We feel good about that.”
 
As far as handling Bradley’s minutes this week, Stevens has a very simple approach to what he needs to do.
 
“I’m just going to play him in the first couple of stints,” Stevens said. “And when his minutes run out he won’t play anymore. It is hard if you’re trying to save minutes for the end. I’m not sure that makes a lot of sense with getting stiff, sitting for a long time, coming off a long lay-off.”
 
Bradley is the Celtics’ second-leading scorer at 17.7 points per game along with a team-high 6.9 rebounds. A first-team All-NBA Defender last season, Bradley is also shooting a career-high 40.9 percent from 3-point range.

Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

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Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

PHOENIX - The Arizona Cardinals, in an anticipated move, have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the player.

The non-exclusive tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15. If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks.

It's unlikely that any team would express interest in Jones, however, given what it would cost.

Under the franchise tag, Jones would receive about $15 million for the coming season.

Acquired in a trade with New England a year ago, Jones had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss last season

Jones has 25 1-2 sacks over the past two seasons, third-most in the NFL over that span.

The Cardinals' move came two days before the NFL deadline for making franchise designations.

It also came on Jones' 27th birthday, prompting teammate David Johnson to tweet "Happy BDay to `The Man,' `Mr. Franchise' himself.....The one and only."

The franchise tag move came as no surprise.

Club President Michael Bidwill has stated all along that Jones would not be going anywhere, that the team didn't make the trade - sending guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft pick to New England - to keep him just for one season.

"We're not going to mess around with that," Bidwill said in a recent interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "He's a great pass rusher, but if we can't agree to terms that work for us, we're just going to franchise him, and his people know that."

Jones immediately upgraded what had been an average Cardinals pass rush at best. His fellow outside linebacker Markus Golden had 12 1-2 sacks and seven tackles for loss. Together they form one of the better outside pass rush combinations in the NFL.

By all accounts, the contract talks with Jones have been cordial and Jones has said he wants to stay in Arizona.

"I love it here," he said near the end of last season. "I love the vibe that the people give off and I can see myself being here for a long time."

Chandler heads a long list of free agents that the Cardinals must either re-sign or let go. That group includes starters defensive tackle Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson and inside linebacker Kevin Minter.